For better or worse, Andrew Lloyd Webber's adaptation of Gaston Leroux's gothic horror/romance novel has done for stage musicals what Spielberg's Jaws did for fish stories, with worldwide sales of its original cast album approaching 25 million. While director Joel Schumacher's film turns on his typically ambitious visual verve, its new film soundtrack recording has been paradoxically focused in scope, yet beefed up dynamically via the brawny presence of a hundred piece orchestra and The London Boys Choir. This double-disc version showcases all of Phantom's songs, with Gerard Butler imparting a welcome, youthful sensuality to his Phantom, making a fine foil for Emily Rossum's ever-conflicted Christine. Original show orchestrator David Cullen has fashioned compelling new contemporary arrangements to frame Webber's songs–which now conclude with the lilting, upbeat new ballad he wrote for the film, "Learn to Be Lonely," sung by Minnie Driver's Carlotta.
Beggars Opera's third album offered up another dramatic change in pace and style from a band that had already demonstrated its musical schizophrenia well enough. Considerably more song-oriented than either of its predecessors, Pathfinder set out its stall with the pounding pop of "Hobo" before delving deep into period preoccupations with a truly visionary assault on "MacArthur Park" – imagine Vanilla Fudge if Brian Auger had created their arrangements. Eight minutes seem too short a time in which to layer all of the group's ideas, but they succeed with room to spare, and deliver what is probably the definitive reading of the song…
Anyone who enjoys Mozart opera should hear this disc. Yet quite a few people who'd probably love it to death if they listened are going to pass it by. Why? Well, look at the selections - it's not exactly a 'greatest hits' selection in the truly popular sense. Lucio Silla, Il re pastore, Mitridate, Zaïde - hardly front rank Mozart operas in the public consciousness; with Die Entführung we're getting closer - and suddenly you spot track 2, Pamina's gorgeous lament to lost love from The Magic Flute: 'Ach, ich fühl's' - anyone who hears Sandrine Piau singing this famous number will want to experience the rest of the recording no matter what.
Pioneering progressive rock group Beggars Opera from Glasgow released several splendid albums for the Vertigo label in the early Seventies. The line up included vocalist Martin Griffiths, guitarist Ricky Gardiner and keyboard player Alan Park, who ensured a strong classical influence. ‘Waters Of Change’ was the group’s second effort, first released in 1971. It follows the pattern set by debut album ‘Act One’, and features highlight tracks ‘Time Machine’, ‘Silver Peacock’ and ‘The Fox’, given greater depth by the addition of Mellotron player Virginia Scott.
Composer Michael William Balfe composed 29 operas, and around 250 other pieces. He is best known for his opera The Bohemian Girl. Balfe’s opera Satanella was his 23rd opera, and was premiered at Covent Garden in 1858. The work is a hybrid of classical opera tradition and stand-alone songs. This release is performed by the John Powell Singers and the Victorian Opera Orchestra under the direction of Richard Bonynge.
This SIX CD collection of 101 favorite tracks is the perfect introduction to the world of opera, including the worlds most famous and popular tenor and soprano arias, duets and choruses. With a running time of over 7 hours of music this box set provides excellent value for money. This delightful collection includes everyones favorite opera highlights, from the lyricism of Puccinis Nessun dorma! and O mio babbino caro, to the power and might of Verdis Anvil Chorus and Wagners Ride of the Valkyries. Features some of the greatest opera singers of the last 50 years, including Luciano Pavarotti, Dame Joan Sutherland, Jussi Bjorling, Kiri Te Kanawa, Placido Domingo and Renata Tebaldi.